Friday, March 06, 2009

Reflecting Back

As I am on the brink of making a change in employment, it has caused me to do some serious soul searching. I've been with Novell for close to 12 years now. I find this very fitting. I see a lot of parallels between my high school education and my time at Novell.

I came to Novell back in 1997. I had tried several times to get some type of job there. I was working up in Salt Lake up by the zoo, and felt overworked and under paid. When I interviewed with BJ Murray, she was in need of a Sybase database administrator, and I had Sybase on my resume. I was so happy when she offered me a job. It was honestly a dream come true.

Within about the first week of employment, I received my first assignment. It was to help out with terminating accounts and locking out users as Novell did a massive layoff. This became a theme of working for Novell - speculating about layoffs, hoping they didn't affect any close friends or neighbors, then trying to carry on after the carnage.

My first major assignment was to support the Vantive databases used by support. My first rollout was a disaster, and the entire system was down for hours. Looking back, I realize my manager probably had to fight to keep me from being fired. I have since sent her a thank-you note!

I remember Kent and Kevin talking like Beavis and Butthead and playing air guitar to Collective Soul playing on Kevin's sound system. I remember Clint being the quiet Oracle guy who sat back out of the way.

I remember doing tape rotatations as part of oncall, and also producing the morning database report that went out via voice mail.

I met Gary at Weinerschitzel, when Kent wanted to meet him for lunch. This was when G was thinking about coming back to Novell. I had no idea the history and drama behind all of that!

Scott was a Unix guy when I joined the group. His baptism by fire into the database world was on the financials project.

I'm quite sure I will never find another Terry Wong. He is awesome and always entertaining.

Many extremely talented, great people passed through the group. Stan, Bill, Greg, Clint and Skip all were great managers. Of course, they all spent time at Novell doing things other than managing the database group. Ginger, Aaron, Barb, Tom and Randy all did the dba thing at some point. We had times when the group included non database people, such as Nicole, the apps group and the web group.

I'm sure I've missed some people, but I wanted to at least attempt listing off some of them.

I took on support of HR, and then the web group. This proved to be too much, so I transitioned Vantive and nts to Gary, and eventually HR over to others.

The web thing evolved from our preliminary one Oracle instance running on a Solaris Veritas cluster to hundreds of MySQL databases, dozens of Oracle instances, PostgreSQL and more.

I went from just Sybase to working with about a half dozen different database platforms. I came into Novell with experience writing Rexx scripts on OS/2. Since then, I've learned about Perl, Netbasic, awk, sed, bash shell and many other utilities.

I've worked on many different operating systems. I've learned to write my own web utilities. It has been quite a ride.